To celebrate Mother’s Day, Breeze Ambassador and former downhill mountain bike World Champion Manon Carpenter reflects on her mum’s cycling journey with Breeze.
With International Women’s Day and Mother’s Day both being celebrated this week, it’s a great time to reflect and consider the impact cycling and HSBC UK Breeze has had on my own mum and her participation in cycling.
Throughout my childhood, Mum and I have always gone on the odd bike ride as a family, but as I started to get older, cycling has never been something that she would really do on her own or know where to start when it comes to planning a bike ride. I’ve tried to encourage her and, from time to time, we’ve been on rides when I’ve not been racing in the summer, but in the last year or two, my mum’s confidence in cycling has soared – thanks in large part to HSBC UK Breeze.
My mum felt reassured by having a Breeze Champion in charge to lead the ride and deal with any issues that cropped up, which I know she had pre-conceived concerns about. She really enjoyed discovering new routes and meeting others who, just like her, were keen to do more cycling too. I think it’s fair to say that the coffee and cake stops played a big part in the enjoyment too!
Her journey really began when one of her friends – who, as a complete beginner, had been swept along by the Breeze effect – saw an invitation to apply for places to ride as part of the HSBC UK Breeze team in Velothon Wales and encouraged her to do it. Mum attended a few local Breeze training sessions and went on rides after work and at weekends with friends and cycling buddies. The motivation to train was largely down to having a great team leader, Lusi Lawler. Lusi made Mum believe she might just be able to accomplish the challenge – something she’d never dreamed of doing a few years ago. After the event I was so proud of Mum. Having never undertaken such a challenge before, she tackled the daunting climb up Caerphilly mountain after 60+ miles in the saddle (I don’t think I’ve even ridden that far myself!). It was such an accomplishment for her. Thanks to the confidence and support she’s found with Breeze, she smashed it and had an amazing time.
Throughout her training for the Velothon, it was lovely to be able to share rides together with Mum. On Mother’s Day and for her birthday last year we ventured out on rides together around some of the routes she’d discovered during her Breeze rides. Since then, cycling has been a regular past time and weekend activity for her, sharing it with many new friends who she’s made through cycling – and even introduced to cycling. The last ride we shared was on a particularly cold but sunny day in February when we took the mountain bikes out on some routes local to the house. Recently when I asked what she would like for her 50th birthday, she quickly replied, “New cycling kit!”.
I know how much my mum is looking forward to seeing what Breeze has in store for mountain biking this year, and there are some exciting plans in the pipeline. HSBC UK Breeze is making it as easy as it can be for women to pick up a bike and share the ride with others – and if my mum can fall in love it, everyone can, so why not find a ride near you here.